|For over five years researchers at Meridian Institute have been|
looking into the connection between pH (acid/alkaline) balance and
viral infection - a link noted by Edgar Cayce in several of his
psychic readings. With the recent epidemic of severe acute respiratory
syndrome (SARS) and continued concerns about common conditions such as
colds and flu, our interest in this field has expanded to explore
basic science and clinical projects to test the Cayce hypothesis.
Here is an overview of what we have found so far and where we are
headed. Some simple preventive measures will also be discussed.
Viruses are extremely small parasitic life forms, the smallest
living things on Earth. In essence, a virus is a minuscule pocket of
protein that contains genetic material.
Although viruses can remain dormant outside a living body, they
only become active when in contact with live tissue. Once a virus
infects a cell by penetrating the cell membrane, it can either lay
dormant (lysogenic infection) or begin reproducing itself (lytic
infection - the more common pattern). When a cell becomes full of
virus, it bursts releasing the virus to infect other host cells.
A wide variety of diseases are caused by viruses including the
common cold, flu, warts, measles, hepatitis, herpes, smallpox, and
AIDS. SARS is just the latest in a long list of viral parasites.
Unlike bacteria that can usually be effectively treated with
antibiotics, viral infections are often unresponsive to modern medical
treatment. If the virus causing a disease has been discovered, a
serum may be developed to provide inoculation against that specific
virus. The most common approach to virus protection is to avoid
contamination by infected individuals.
Viral pH Dependency
Laboratory experiments (in vitro) have confirmed that many viruses
require a mildly acidic environment to attack host cells. At Meridian
Institute we are interested in determining exactly how this
physiological fact manifests within the human body (in vivo).
Understanding the role of pH balance in viral infections may provide
preventive and therapeutic breakthroughs for dealing with epidemics
including the recent outbreak of SARS.
To appreciate the relevance of pH for viral infection, let's first
review some facts about acid/alkaline balance. The acid/alkaline
continuum ranges from 0-14 with 7 as neutral. The lower end of the
scale (below 7) is acid and above 7 is alkaline.
Acid/alkaline balance is extremely important to normal physiology.
For example, the blood will maintain a slightly alkaline range of 7.35
to 7.45. Extended pH imbalances of any kind are not well tolerated by
the body. The management of the pH factor is so important that the
body's primary regulatory systems (especially breathing, circulation,
and eliminations) closely regulate acid-alkaline balance in every cell
Certain viruses (including the rhinoviruses and coronaviruses that
are most often responsible for the common cold and influenza viruses
that produce flu) infect host cells by fusion with cellular membranes
at low pH. Thus they are classified as "pH-dependent viruses."
Drugs that increase intracellular pH (alkalinity within the cell)
have been shown to decrease infectivity of pH-dependent viruses.
Since such drugs can provoke negative side effects, the obvious
question is whether more natural techniques can produce the same result.
Possible Relevance to SARS
The World Health Organization has concluded that SARS is produced
by a new virulent strain of coronavirus. Specific research on the
possible pH dependency of the SARS virus has not yet been done. It is
well known that coronavirus infectivity is exquisitely sensitive to
pH. For example, the MHV-A59 strain of coronavirus is quite stable at
pH 6.0 (acidic) but becomes rapidly and irreversibly inactivated by
brief treatment at pH 8.0 (alkaline). Human coronavirus strain 229E
is maximally infective at pH 6.0. Infection of cells by murine
coronavirus A59 at pH 6.0 (acidic) rather than pH 7.0 (neutral) yields
a tenfold increase in the infectivity of the virus.
If the strain of coronavirus responsible for SARS shares the pH
characteristics of these other coronaviruses that are pH-dependent,
this could be a valuable clue to effective prevention and treatment
strategies for this frightening epidemic. Perhaps keeping a balanced
or slightly alkaline pH environment for the body's tissues can provide
viral protection or enhanced healing for SARS and common viral agents
that cause respiratory infections.
Edgar Cayce's Recommendations
Edgar Cayce affirmed the importance of pH balance with regard to
common viruses that cause colds and flu. Cayce repeatedly insisted
that such infectious agents do not thrive in an alkaline environment.
When asked how to prevent colds, Cayce replied, "by keeping the body
alkaline. Only in acids do colds attack the body." (3248-1)
Cayce recommended using litmus paper to test the pH of urine and
saliva as an indication of the pH balance of the body. We now have
more precise means for monitoring pH in the form of pH paper and
digital pH meters.
As a practical preventive measure, Cayce's suggestions for
alkalizing the body emphasized eating an abundance of fresh fruits and
vegetables, especially salads: "... if an alkalinity is maintained
in the system - especially with lettuce, carrots and celery, these in
the blood supply will maintain such a condition as to immunize a
person." (480-19) Consuming citrus fruit and juices was also a
common alkalizing suggestion in the readings that addressed concerns
about cold and flu infections.
Meridian Institute Research
We reported a preliminary study on dietary effects of urine pH in
January 1999 (Vol 3 No 1). The study was done to test Edgar Cayce's
recommendations for testing urine as a marker for systemic pH balance.
Our conclusion was that following Cayce dietary recommendations of
eating primarily alkaline-producing foods (such as fruits and
vegetables) does indeed tend to alkalize the urine.
We have contacted leading researchers in the field of rhinovirus
infection studies to make them aware of the possible role of
acid/alkaline balance and seek feedback on how to do scientific
studies to test the Cayce hypothesis in vivo - with human subjects.
If it turns out that SARS is produced by a pH-dependent coronavirus,
we will certainly make sure that the clinical researchers who do in
vivo studies of viral infections are made aware of this potentially
Rhinovirus infection studies are done at several leading
universities, usually to test the effectiveness of drugs that may help
to prevent or relieve the symptoms of colds. Small amounts of
solution containing rhinovirus are dropped into the noses of subjects
to intentionally infect them under controlled conditions.
Interestingly, about five to fifteen percent of subjects do not get
colds even when the virus is carefully placed onto the nasal mucosa.
Could it be that the pH of the resistant subject's nasal mucosa is
alkaline (or neutral), preventing the rhinovirus from infecting the
cells inside of the nose?